May 10, 2010 / 4:22 PM / 9 years ago

Barbara Walters to undergo heart surgery

Journalist Barbara Walters arrives for the Time 100 Gala in New York May 5, 2009. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. television host and journalist Barbara Walters said on Monday that she will undergo surgery to replace a heart valve later this week.

Walters, 80, made the announcement on her daytime talk show “The View,” saying the operation had been planned for some time. Walters said she expects to return to the show in September.

“I have known of this condition for a while now and my doctors and I have decided that this is the best time to do the surgery,” Walters said.

ABC News president David Westin told ABC News staff in an internal email on Monday, seen by Reuters, that “there’s no denying that this is serious surgery,” but added “It is not urgent; she is feeling great.”

Walters, who is one of the best-known television personalities in the United States, became the first female U.S. network news co-anchor more than 30 years ago. She then served as co-host of ABC newsmagazine 20/20 and carved out a reputation for various TV specials interviewing high-profile personalities.

Reporting by Christine Kearney, editing by Michelle Nichols

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